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In the pink thanks to Evans treble

NEW strip, same Scotland traumas, but in the end this was a fine Cyprus Cup win for Anna Signeul's side.

Having threatened to bury the Netherlands during the first half in Nicosia yesterday, the Scots had to dig deep to eke out a deserved victory.

The controversial away strip had its first airing, but, whatever the yellow stands for, it's not cowardice. The Scots were out on their feet for most of the second half following their heroics against France less than 48 hours earlier, but refused to buckle against a characteristically smooth passing Dutch side.

Anything other than a win would have been a travesty for Lisa Evans, who usually plays wide left midfield for her country but yesterday was pushed up to join Jane Ross, the striker. The Potsdam player scored a hat trick in 18 first-half minutes to give Scotland a 3-0 lead, and then laid on assists that would have made it four or five without reply had the Dutch goalkeeper, Angela Christ, not produced out­standing saves from Jenny Beattie and Ross.

At that point anything other than a substantial Scotland win looked inconceivable but - just as Australia later did to France in the second Group B game - the Netherlands hit back to make the score 3-2. The Dutch goals arrived as a pair just before the interval, making Signeul's half-time talk very different from the one she would have been expecting to make.

Beattie, the central defender who conceded the own goal which allowed France to escape with a draw in the opening group match, gave Scotland some comfort when she made it 4-2 early in the second half. However, Gabriella Melis pulled the deficit back to one and the remaining 21 minutes were fraught for Scotland to say the least.

Evans, whose treble was her first for her country, said: "At 3-0 we should have killed off the game. Instead, we let them come back into it and we were on edge in the dressing room.

"Obviously we were thinking of the negatives, but Anna reminded us we were still winning and in control of the game. Jenny getting the fourth goal gave us a cushion but after they scored again we were hanging on, no doubt about it.

"The big positive to take is that in previous years we've lost these type of games. This time we saw it through, and it was similar against France on Wednesday night. We had less than 48 hours recovery from the French match, and that took its toll. To hold on for the win against a side as good as Holland means a lot."

The win was Scotland's third in successive years against the Dutch in the Cyprus Cup, and all have been by single-goal margins.

Evans opened the scoring after 15 minutes when she took advantage of good work by Leanne Ross to run through the middle before beating Christ with a powerful shot.

The second followed a Hayley Lauder corner, Evans hitting home the rebound after her initial header hit the bar.

For the third, she dispossessed Tessel Middag, with all the goals coming from her right foot. Christ kept the Dutch in the game with her two saves before Renee Slegers and Lieke Martens put a different complexion on the game.

The win puts Scotland level on points at the top of the group with France, who beat Australia 3-2. In Group A, there were second wins for Canada and England.

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